“Mom on a Mission” is back with Operation #3! If you missed my first two challenges, read all about them here and here. Breakfast and dinner are running very smoothly. I am getting positive feedback that our new system is working by what I am seeing and hearing from my kids:
“You put everything on the table I will pick what I want to eat.” – Gaby (my eldest daughter)
My son is putting veggies into his sushi bowl on his own.
Kids are helping themselves to salad with their pizza on their own.
I can visibly see my kids relax when I tell them what’s for dinner and assure them that I always include something that is familiar to them. (See Gaby’s quote above.)
I am not forcing anyone to eat anything. I set out a cohesive meal, family style with 2-3 familiar dishes and 1-2 unfamiliar dishes. I rest assured that the components are healthy and include a well balanced mix of plant based options that I feel good about my kids eating, no matter which they choose to eat.
With all of this success, I decided to tackle a few more things in my next session with the family nourishment coach:
Get my kids more involved in the meal preparation and cooking process. I always ask my kids if they have any requests for the menu during the week, so I thought that this physical manifestation of the menu would be fun for them to see and also reinforce to them that they are part of the process. I also thought it would help build excitement for mealtime as they look forward to looking at their school lunch menu during the year.
Focus on adding more vegetable dishes to the table. I tend to get stuck in the tried and true and was feeling intimidated about introducing new things because I worried they wouldn’t eat them.
The Plan of Attack
Make a menu template for breakfast and dinner meals.
While talking to family nourishment coach, Stefanie, about my desire to get the kids more involved with the meal prep for the week, I was inspired to create a weekly menu for the family’s breakfast and dinner meals. I always ask my kids if they have any requests for the menu during the week, so I thought that this physical manifestation of the menu would be fun for them to see and also reinforce to them that they are part of the process. I also thought it would help build excitement for mealtime as they look forward to looking at their school lunch menu during the year. Click here to download a copy of my menu template.
Get kids more involved in cooking and meal preparation.
It has been tough with our busy summer of travel, but during the days we are in town, I have been making an effort to incorporate ways to get the kids in the kitchen with me. Stefanie encouraged me to cook with the kids because it is fun and enjoyable, not because I am trying to get them to eat a particular food. She suggested making a list of recipes they want to make, and to cook for fun when they aren’t necessarily starving. Cooking is my passion and Stefanie encouraged me to share that with them. We did with cooking experiments like Raddish Kid’s Solar Oven from their July box, and other things like a make-your-own-smoothie bar for breakfast. I also got them involved in some of my work, brainstorming recipes for upcoming articles and participating in videos where I am in the kitchen.
Introduce new vegetables at dinner time.
I had to dive in and serve new dishes and not worry about whether the kids were going to like it or not. Stefanie reminded me that my goal is to expose them to all the food that we as adults enjoy so that when they are on their own, they have the experience of being exposed to these foods.
So far so good! It’s all journey and I am trusting that this is not an overnight process, but I have signs that the groundwork I am laying is going to pay off (for example, they didn’t freak out when they saw bok choy on the table!) Most importantly, my household is calm and joyful at mealtimes, and my kids are independently filling their plates with the healthy food I am making. That doesn’t mean that they are serving themselves heaping helpings of veggies (and sometimes they only stick to their faves on the table), but that’s okay because they are still getting their veggies while being exposed to something new. With the additional time we are spending in the kitchen together, I realize I am also getting to share my interests and passions with them which fills my heart to no end. Meal planning is simpler and mealtime is feeling harmonious again! I can’t wait for my next challenge. What would you like me to take on?